Ready, Fire, Adapt!

Lisa-Bradner  [Posted by Lisa Bradner]

My report on Adaptive Brand Marketing continues to generate coverage and comments positive and negative in both the US and Europe: see links here for Marketing Week and AdAge.

The Ad Age piece in particular is interesting to me.  While I’m not fond of the “we haven’t read the report but here’s what we think” approach, I do appreciate the folks from BBH Labs weighing in and sharing their vision of what the future adaptive marketing organization looks like. Several of the things called out on their list are in my report as well—although anyone who’s read Dave Frankland’s recent report on customer intelligence, "The Intelligent Approach to Customer Intelligence" knows that equating this function to market research doesn’t’ scratch the surface of everything that is involved.  

What I am concerned about is the attempt to bring adaptive brand marketing down to a list: lists won't get us there. We need to fundamentally rethink the people, process and technologies we use and, take on hard issues like organizational structure; partner relationships, compensation and metrics, or this just becomes another reinvention activity that stops short of real change.

My piece is neither an indictment of agencies nor of brand marketing organizations. It is an attempt to begin the dialog about what we keep, what we give up and how we make our relationships more productive for all parties. In my many conversations with practitioners on both sides of the fence (both for the piece and at Forrester’s Consumer Forum this week) I heard that no one is happy with the status quo and no one feels they have all the answers. I also heard a lot of smart business minds willing to wade in and take on the core issues and that excites me greatly.

At Forrester we'll be continuing to push the thinking on how to design, build and operationalize an adaptive brand marketing organization. As a 3rd party research firm we have the opportunity to look across both the agency and brand marketer camps and help surface solutions. The more everyone commits to talking about and thinking through the tough issues the better the solutions we'll create together.

So I’m here to give a shout out—there’s been a lot of noise out there but things are quiet on the marketing leadership blog—I hope you’ll change that: post here, tell us what you think, ask provocative questions and be part of the conversation.  Let’s make this something we build and grow together so we create lasting change not just another industry buzzword.

Post your comments here, or ping me on twitter @lisabradner


re: Ready, Fire, Adapt!

Lisa,just wanted you to know that you I've both read the report, *and* liked it :-)But in all seriousness, I think you've captured something very important here - and I've lived both sides of it - from the agency and client side as well. It's a transformation that we're all going through. It's now only a question if you're going "kicking and screaming" or eagerly. Interestingly, I've been not been calling them "advocates" when talking with clients, but "facilitators" - but I like Advocates better... Because I think it really is in the true definition of that word. I'd also disagree with those (mostly from the Marketing Week Piece) who think that annual budgets will never go away. I've seen it. I've seen budgets go from semi-annual, to quarterly to almost monthly. And, plans the same way. Now, certainly the size of your organization can influence the effectiveness of that shortening time frame, but remaining flexible on budgets for "on the fly" tactics (or what I've been calling "snack size experiments") is one of the most important parts of the marketers new arsenal. I think the biggest piece of this is getting permission to fail. With the real-time nature of this - the risk and ability to research tactics goes down. So, allocating some dollars to experiments that may fail needs to be a key piece. But getting that permission is still hard.Thanks for a great paper. Can't wait to see more from you on this.

re: Ready, Fire, Adapt!

Rob, thanks so much for the thoughtful post. I love the notion of “snacks” because I do think being willing to sample things is going to be very important. We’re going to need to take a portfolio approach: some things we know are fixed, some we’re going to ramp up or down and some things we’re going to have to experiment with in order to see how they work. You’re absolutely right about the mindset as well: fast failure, pilot and learn is going to be really, really important.I agree as well about the annual budgets: we’ll see total amounts fixed and certain key buckets clearly defined and committed but within the overall budget there’s going to have to be some give and take. It’s also in the language we use: we talk about working vs. non working media as if one is useful and the other is not. When we get out of the media mindset and think more broadly about connecting with audiences I think it helps open up the budget discussions as well.I’m going to push this line of research forward and am thinking about the total organizational structure. I would love to connect with you and other readers of this blog to brainstorm about what this looks like so let me know if you’re interested in participating.Most of all, thanks for the careful read. JBest,Lisa

re: Ready, Fire, Adapt!

Bradner, Lisa would like to recall the message, [The Forrester Blog For Marketing Leadership Professionals] Rob Rose submitted a comment to Ready, Fire, Adapt!..

re: Ready, Fire, Adapt!

Lisa...Would absolutely love to participate in any way I can. Please let me know what you have in mind. I can certainly be contacted through my blog. Or through the email address listed with this post.Best,~rr